A computer failure at JFK airport led to huge luggage delays, five cancelled flights, and days of headaches. Airline foul-ups aren’t exactly news, but the words from company official a were downright frustrating. Apparently she “could not estimate when the system will be working again or how many passengers have been affected.”
The story came from an American Airlines representative quoted by Ireland Online. There’s not much information in the release, but that summary from the journalist is enough to highlight serious issues.
No piece of news is more despised than one which contains no information. We often say that “no news is good news,” so if you’re in an uncomfortable situation the worst thing you can do is stand up and say “we know nothing.”
To be clear: American Airlines expressed two areas of ignorance—when the system would be working again and how many people were inconvenienced. They might as well have announced they were unsure who would win the Superbowl this year and how many fans would tune in to watch the game.
Crisis management is almost entirely public relations, but crisis prevention is business planning. Like all organizations, airlines must have procedures and processes in place that not only enable the company to run smoothly during normal operations, but adjust as much as possible to extreme situations. Workflow analysis, process design and productivity measurement are all aspects of our business consulting services. Reach out to AccelaWork review and renew your workplace procedures, and reduce the risk that a crisis will catch you (or your passengers) unaware.